An exceptional large archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, zun  Shang dynasty
Lot 380
An exceptional large archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, zun Shang dynasty
HK$ 10 million - 15 million
US$ 1.3 million - 1.9 million
Lot Details
The Property of a distinguished Asian collector
An exceptional large archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, zun
Shang dynasty
The massively constructed vessel powerfully cast of large beaker form, the prominent curved central body supported on a high flared foot, sloping at the shoulders and surmounted by a flaring mouth, intricately cast at the curve of the body with a continuous broad frieze with three registers of stylised kui dragons set in confrontation against a leiwen ground, their bodies delineated by stylised bodies curling at the tip, ferocious masks highlighted by raised bosses as eyes and 'S'-shaped horns, separated from each other by raised vertical notched flanges, the decoration repeated on a narrow frieze at the foot and below the shoulder, further cast with a broader frieze of similar decoration at the shoulder, interspersed with three prominent taotie masks formed of raised bovine masks, the foot pierced with three cavities, the patina of an attractive crystallised malachite green with extensive areas of azurite encrustation.
36.5cm diam. (32.2cm high)


  • 商 青銅饕餮紋牛首尊

    Provenance: 來源:
    Gisèle Croës, Brussels, 2001

    This archaic bronze ritual wine vessel is an exceptional archaic bronze vessel, outstanding for its size and the quality of its decoration, and is arguably one the greatest extant Shang dynasty zun vessels recorded. No other ritual archaic bronze vessel of this size and form appears ever to have been offered for sale at auction.

    However, an archaic bronze zun of similar decoration, but smaller size (20cm high), excavated in Shaanxi, is illustrated in Shaanxi chutu Shang Zhou qingtongqi,vol. 1, Beijing, Wenwu Chubanshe, 1979, no.61, and again by Robert Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sacklet Collection, Cambridge, Massachussets, 1987, p.278, fig.44.1. The shape, decoration and unique decorative elements all closely match each other. Both are cast of similar powerful form, constructed with similar pierced apertures at the foot, and similarly decorated with the lower frieze of decoration cast at the point where the foot meets the ground.
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